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Pocketknife Safety

Folding, non-serrated, single locking blade, no longer than 3¼ inches, with belt sheath. ***NO EXCEPTIONS**

Using Your Pocketknife

The best multipurpose knife for outdoor use has one or two folding blades for cutting, and special blades for opening cans, driving screws, and punching holes. However, see the Troop 780 Rules on acceptable knives above.

Always follow these rules for safe knife use:


  • Keep the blades closed except when you are using them
  • Cut away from yourself.
  • Keep your knife sharp and clean. A sharp blade is easier to control than a dull one; a clean blade will last longer.
  • Close the blades before you pass a knife to someone else.


  • Carry a knife with the blade open.
  • Cut toward yourself. If the blade slips, you may be injured.
  • Pound on a knife handle or blade with another tool. The knife may break.
  • Throw a knife.
  • Pry with the point of a cutting blade. It can snap off.
  • Put a knife in a fire. New knife blades are hardened, or tempered, with just the right amount of heat. Reheating them may ruin the temper and weaken the knife.

Caring for your pocketknife

Most pocketknives are made of a strong steel alloy that won’t rust. However, dirt and lint can collect inside, and ordinary use will dull the blades.

Cleaning a pocketknife

Open all of the blades, taking care not to nick your fingers. Twirl a small bit of cloth or paper towel onto the end of a toothpick. Moisten it with oil and wipe the inside of the knife. Be sure to clean the joint at the base of each blade. Swab out excess oil with a clean cloth. If you have used your pocketknife to cut food or spread peanut butter and jam, wash it in hot, soapy water along with your dishes.


Sharpen your knife with a whetstone. Most whetstones are made from granite and other materials harder than knife metal. Some are covered with diamond dust. Stones are used dry or with a few drops of water or honing oil. Hold the blade against the stone at an angle of about 30 degrees. That means the back of the blade is tilted off the stone one-third of the way to vertical.

Push the blade along the stone as though you were slicing a layer off the top. The stone's gritty surface will sharpen, or hone, the blade much the same way sandpaper smooths wood. To sharpen the other side, turn the blade over and pull it along the stone toward you. Clean tiny bits of metal off the stone by slapping it on your hand or pants leg.

Work the blade back and forth across the stone several more times. Wipe the knife with a clean cloth and look directly down at the edge of the blade in the sun or under a bright light. A dull cutting edge reflects light and looks shiny. A sharp edge is so thin that it has no shine at all.

About the worst thing that happens to pocketknives is that they get lost. Keep track of yours by using a bowline knot to tie a 3-foot length of cord to the ring in the handle. Use another bowline to tie the other end to a belt loop of your pants. Your knife will always be within easy reach. Or you can thread a brightly colored shoestring through the ring and tie the ends in a square knot. That splash of color will help you find your knife if you drop it in grass, leaves, or snow.


Troop 372